If you're here, chances are you've been questioning armpit temperature. Do we really need to stick a thermometer under our arms? Is it accurate? Why does it always feel awkward when the doctor takes our temperature this way?
Well, don't sweat it! (pun intended) We're about to reveal everything you need to know about armpit temperature – and trust us, you'll never look at a thermometer the same way again.
What is Armpit Temperature?
Armpit temperature is exactly what it sounds like - taking someone's body temperature by placing a thermometer under their arm. It's also known as axillary temperature, named after the medical term for your armpits (the axilla).
While rectal and oral temperatures may be more accurate in certain situations, taking an armpit temp is quick and non-invasive (and let's be honest - way less uncomfortable than those other methods).
How Accurate is Armpit Temperature?
Now onto the age-old question - how reliable are those pesky readings? Well, studies have shown that using an oral or rectal thermometer will give you slightly more accurate results, but an ear or forehead reading isn't much different from what you'd get from sticking that little guy under your arm.
Just be sure to follow these tips for an accurate reading:
- Press your upper-arm tightly against your body while holding the thermometer
- Keep still while waiting for the beep signal on digital thermometers
- Add one degree if taken orally or subtract one degree if taken rectally
So there you have it! While not 100% perfect, taking someone's temp via their pits gets pretty darn close.
When Should You Take Someone's Armpit Temp?
In general, axillary temps should only be used on infants and toddlers up to three years old. After that, it's best to switch to another method, as older children and adults are better able to hold an oral thermometer under their tongue or use a rectal one.
However, there are some instances where taking someone's temp via their pits may be your only option:
- If the person has recently had hot or cold drinks
- If they have just been exercising
- If they've been wearing heavy clothing
In these cases, waiting 15 minutes before taking an armpit temp can give more accurate results.
What Factors Can Affect Armpit Temperature?
Like any other form of temperature-taking, certain factors may impact the accuracy of a reading. Here are some potential culprits:
Heavy layers can trap heat close to the body and increase the likelihood of a higher axillary temperature reading. To get more accurate results, make sure you strip them down (at least partially) before grabbing that thermometer.
Sweating is the body's way of cooling itself down - which in turn lowers its overall core temperature. While sweating won't negate the need for using armpit temperature entirely, it does mean you should take caution when interpreting readings from sweatier individuals.
Age & Gender
All else being equal - elderly people tend to have lower body temperatures than younger ones while women typically run half a degree cooler than men do on average for reasons completely out of our control. So don't freak out if yours falls within those ranges!
Why Does Taking Your Temperature Via Armpits Sometimes Feel Awkward?
Ah yes – we've all been there . Whether at home or in a doctor’s office it sometimes feels like everyone’s staring at us while we lift up our arms and stick thermometers beneath them. But why do we feel this way?
One reason might be because up until recent times there were no digital therometers but our your temperature was taken by placing mercury filled glass under your tongue or anus. Having someone stick a cold piece of metal underneath you is something that hasn’t changed throughout the years, and this makes many people feel uncomfortable.
Another reason might be because we're not used to exposing ourselves in this way - most of us cover up our armpits with clothing for much of the day! So it's only natural that taking off layers and revealing our sweat glands can be a bit unnerving.
But don't worry – doctors are professionals, they do this every single day (sometimes 50 times a day!), so they know what they’re doing even if you don't take enough bathrobes off beforehand.
How Can You Take Your Temperature via Armpit More Comfortably?
While there’s no one size fits all solution when it comes to comfort levels here some tips:
Warm Up The Thermometer
Dipping a thermometer in lukewarm water before using it can make all the difference - nobody likes having an ice-cold probe jammed against their skin!
Relax & Exhale
Taking slow deep breaths can have a calming effect on both your mind and muscles as well! Make sure to relax while holding the thermometer in place.
Some people find reading or watching TV while taking their temp helps them distract themselves from any discomfort. Or just try blasting some tunes instead – whatever works best to get through the waiting game until that beep sounds!
The Bottom Line
So, should we start shunning armpit temperatures? Is this method absolutely useless? Definitely not- like all medical devices, thermometers come with pros and cons depending on circumstance.
That being said, axillary temps are still considered accurate enough for young children who may struggle with other methods; and often good enough for those situations where oral/rectal readings aren't feasible.
Now that you're an expert on all things armpit temperature, go forth and stick those thermometers under your arms with confidence!